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No one here knows me, I have never posted on this forum however I lurked and read for what seems like ages. I can tell you however that I was as deep in the depths of DP hell as anyone else.

I had all the symptoms, lack of memory, scratch that, NO MEMORY, loss of time, months seemed like seconds and sometimes seconds seemed like years. I stuttered, felt tingling all over my body, felt numb, lost depth perception, got dizzy, could not form words, could not type without misspelling, could not READ anymore because I couldn't recall the previous paragraph. I saw the fogginess of life, the haze, I looked at my limbs like they were some alien's arms and not my own. DP even had weird effects on my sinuses and made the muscles in my mouth contort and become difficult to control. I went to the doctors that stared back at me with a blank stare. I consulted friends, I read books, and yes I even lost hope.... I am an educated man in my late 20's and have a solid job with a good wage. After almost 2 years of searching I am now back to normal-ish.

I did all the research like any of you have done. I was even shocked to discover that MRIs done on people with DP do indeed show blood flow changes in areas of the brain as opposed to people that do not suffer with DP. So in essence, we are not crazy, this is a physical manifestation. But like all things that contain a mind-body connection, in a way it really is in our heads.

I have memories of brief DP as a child, and always it was when under extreme stress. When I was bullied, when I did drugs at a young age to fit in, when I felt battered or just plain down. As an adult stress was also the trigger. What got me into the "perma-DP" mode was a period of constant life changes. I developed systemic arthritis and thus my career as a firefighter was over. I felt trapped in my new city away from home at the same time which led to depression, then stress, and then...... numbness. DP engulfed me and did not let up.

I lost hope after doing the research of seemingly a biology PhD student. I finally saw a therapist and the oddest thing happened when I was in session.... The sheer relief of speaking to another human about life and problems gave me brief relief. It was like someone turned the fucking lights on. As soon as I left the office however they went back dim. I had other flashes of normalcy when watching a youtube video of a fellow sufferer. I had more flashes when deeply meditating. I never fully pursued any of these paths howver... But I had renewed glimmers of hope.

What then broke the spell you ask!!!??? Well I will tell you. I took a 2 month long trip to Asia and did whatever the hell I wanted. I left school, my house, my girlfriend, my job, my LIFE behind. I did not look at my cell phone, I was not bombarded by negative media, I simply lived. I became ME again, and became free. I also became close with European friends I met overseas and smiled genuinely and consistently for the first time in years as these people were genuine and caring like NO ONE ELSE I had in my life. I had to call work one time while in Asia to talk about some business and GUESS WHAT HAPPENED!!?? I DP'ed while on the phone. I could not believe it. I was feeling normal without even knowing it, and then the call back home, at work, put me back in DP mode. Luckily I hooked back up with my travel buddies soon after and I came back to reality.

I am now back home and I cannot lie to you, I have had brief flashes of DP here and there, but now I can recognize it. This thing no longer has a strangle hold on me, I can beat it back like any other bullying foe.

My Theory:

DP is the result of EXTREME anxiety. This is a mental state of hell that no human being should experience, and yet we do. We still plug on however like any American is trained to do. Work hard, keep your head down, or at least put pressure on yourself to succeed, I mean come one, its the fucking American dream!!! Our culture makes it worse because it is taboo to discuss your emotions until you are about to break, and finally we are surrounded by a level of negativity in our culture and media that is completely uninspiring. As a result we plug on like robots, but the life within us gets snuffed out by DP. Otherwise we simply could not handle our own lives. We would either break, or break free. DP just keeps us sustained but does not allow us to live. Anxiousness and anxiety are thus the enemy that we must defeat or go down trying....

If you, reader were my close friend, here is what I would suggest...

Evaluate your life and list all sources of anxiety. Then start baby steps to fix and eliminate them. Become as sociable as humanly possible with TRUE and CARING individuals. Surround yourself with those that lift up your soul. Many of us come from broken families and a sense of emptiness, and discovering safe and close friends can help close the gap from these tumultuous upbringings. Eliminate relationships with those that drag you down. Form relationships with those that lift you up!

Please Please Please don't do what I did and become a recluse. I lost a year of my life turning down invites and just slowly dying. GET OUT THERE AND FUCKING LIVE!

Go see a therapist, a good one. Shop around. Talking and communicating really does help, and this comes from a guy that never wanted to do this. It helps!!

Discover mindfulness. Discover this! It truly does help. I could not meditate fully until I got back from my trip and the strangle hold DP had on my eased. It keeps you grounded, and allows a feeling of indifference to negative feelings, thus they can't control you.

Avoid caffeine, I love coffee so much but it puts me in la la land almost instantly.

Exercise like crazy. Walk 3-5 miles a day- this keeps my mind calm throughout the day and actually allows me to sleep at night.

Finally, become who you want to be.... We have one life here. And if anything DP has taught me that our lives and our sense of time is simply a flash. Be a steam boat captain for God's sake if you want! Be a farmer, be a barista, or do what I did, travel!!!! You can survive an entire year backpacking SE Asia for $10,000. A year!!!!! Just go do it.

Last but not least, DO NOT GIVE UP HOPE.... Hope is alive, and hope is well. YOU TO WILL GET BETTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love you, the universe loves you, you are a good, worthy, awesome human being that does not deserve DP and DP will not always control you.

Peace guys, keep soldiering on.
 

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Thank you so much.

You know what... Last time I remember being DP/DR free was when I went solo-travelling a couple years ago. I left everything behind, like you. I was exactly where I wanted to be, with the people I wanted to be with, caring, loving and genuine people, it was perfect and sublime. I totally believed in being there and just let go. I've been chasing that feeling ever since, but I can resonate with your story of travel very much.
 
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